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Original Equipment vs. Replacement Tyres

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Side Bubble in Tyre: What It Means and Safety Concerns

If you have a gumball-shaped bulge sticking out from the side of your tyre, don’t ignore it. The nugget-like protrusion is actually an air bubble that could cause a blowout. Think of the bubble as a tyre tumor that, if left untreated, could have devastating consequences.

What Causes Tyre Bubbles?

Tyre bubbles are most often caused by high-impact damage, such as hitting a pothole or piece of road debris; running into a curb; driving too fast over speed bumps or railroad crossings; overloading your tyre; and driving, even for a short distance, with a flat tyre.

The impact that your tyre experiences from hitting the foreign object pinches the tyre against the rim, which damages the inner liner, forcing air to leak into the body of the tyre and causing the bubble to form.

That’s not to say that tyre bubbles are never caused by an internal defect in the tyre. If an authorized dealer inspects your tyre and finds that there’s been no obvious damage due to impact, then there’s a chance that the defect could be covered by your warranty. Every tyre manufacturer’s policies and procedures are different, but if you don’t remember subjecting your tyres to any high-impact damage, then it could be worth submitting a claim.

Bubbles in the side of your tyre aren’t to be confused with sometimes-hard-to-spot bubbles that crop up in your tyre’s tread — these tread bubbles usually indicate that your tyre has a broken belt.


If I Have a Bubble, Are My Tyres Safe?

That side tyre bubble is a lot more dangerous than it looks. It can cause even more harm than a flat tyre: To your wheels, to you personally and to others who are driving on the road around you. If you have a bubble on the side of your tyre, it’s a ticking time bomb that could quite literally explode at any time — such as if you’re cruising at 128km per hour down the highway — causing a blowout that can put your life and others’ lives at risk. 

Can Tyre Bubbles be Repaired?

Do you have a bubble on the side of your tyre? Don’t delay. Address it immediately. Be sure to drive slowly and take your vehicle into your nearest tyre repair shop or auto dealership. Unfortunately, addressing the tyre bubble doesn’t mean repairing it. Side tyre bubbles aren’t repairable — the tyre must be replaced before a blowout occurs.

If you’re replacing one tyre, you might as well replace two tyres. If you’re routinely rotating your tyres, it’s best to replace tyres in sets of two or four, to maintain even wear. It might sting initially, but replacing tyres in sets will surely save you money in the long run